Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dragon Age: The End

So I have finished my first play through of Dragon Age: Origins. I'll post my thoughts on the game, first on non-spoiler filled topics then with a spoiler warning preceding, the story and end of the game.

Combat: Combat in the game ended up being quite enjoyable. Sure there were the fights that utterly and totally kicked my ass, as mentioned in previous posts with one fight even taking 13 tries to succeed. Being a two-handed warrior got a little boring at times, combat tactics consisted of sundering arms and armor, knocking the opponent down and slicing a wide swath. Thankfully, I had magi in the party, which has a wide selection of spells plus combos to play with.

Overall, the tactical thinking required was fun. I enjoyed pausing at the beginning of the fight to determine an overall plan of attack and then executing the first few moves to pause and re-evaluate. Sure there were some annoyances, in large groups getting to the guy you want to hit can be troublesome at times. But overall, it didn't hurt enough to detract from the overall experience.

I also enjoyed the method for buffs. Rather than having most of them be cast then recast once it ran out, the sustaining system worked really well for me. I didn't have to constantly juggle buffs yet still had the benefits.

Inventory and DLC: I thought I'd give special mention to the inventory issues and outrage over a party chest being included in day one DLC. While I'm not a particularly big fan of first day money grubbing, the DLC was worthwhile, though a little of the short end. I'm just going to say in regards to the party chest, I never once used it. Nothing was stored in it and I never visited those merchants later on in the game.

Leveling Up: I liked how they did specializations in the game. Even though you could learn your first one at level 7, I never achieved one of the ones I wanted until level 10. Not just having it given to you was a pleasant surprise. Talents were generally worthwhile with not to many clunkers, so I'll give them credit there.

Load Times: I don't know if it was just me but after playing for a couple of hours, load times would dramatically increase, including some multi-minute waits. CPU usage would be hovering around 98-100%.


The story in this game was overall pretty damn good. It dragged in the middle for me, particularly in the stretch for Orzamar, but redeemed itself in the end. Orzamar will be like the Telos or Peragus in KotOR 2 or Kashyyk in the first. Areas that you have to do to complete the game, but you wont like doing them. By that point I had lost all interest in working on the side quests and simply just did what was necessary to finish the game. Plus two ridiculously hard fights in a row (Brood Mother and Branka) is just stupid. There is not enough health potions for that.

The ending for the game was just epic feeling. Fighting the dragon on the roof top of the fortress with my dwarven breathren (as much as I hated their quest, the legion of the dead just pure rock) was simply breathtaking. When I noticed some key characters from the story fighting along with me, such as First Enchanter Irving and others, brought it over the top. I, of course, went the noblest of endings and sacrificed myself to destroy the archdemon and let Alistair take the throne. Having him eulogize my life was something special and am glad they put it into the game.

I wonder whatever happened to Morrigan, sure they told me they vanished into the wild while holding a child (probably mine), but I want to know. I couldn't bring myself to accept her offer, hoping that she wouldn't leave, but alas it wasn't meant to be. No way I was going to give her a child holding the essence of the old god.

Overall, I loved the game and will probably be starting another play through later in the week as a mage. I want the cool abilities to myself. You can see my characters at the Bioware social site.

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